India said on Sunday it is resuming military operations against rebels in occupied Kashmir after a rare 30-day suspension for Ramazan expired, with a top minister blaming militant attacks.
Army operations were halted on May 16 at the start of Ramazan, despite a months-long escalation of violence in the Muslim-majority Himalayan region.
Troops would stop the pursuit of ‘militants’ and door-to-door house searches but would still retaliate if attacked, officials said at the time.
“While the security forces have displayed exemplary restraint during this period, the terrorists have continued with their attacks, on civilians and SFs [security forces], resulting in deaths and injuries,” Home Minister Rajnath Singh said on Twitter.
“The security forces are being directed to take all necessary actions as earlier to prevent terrorists from launching attacks and indulging in violence,” he added.
“The government of India decides not to extend the suspension of operations” in held Kashmir, Singh’s office said in a separate statement on Twitter.
“The operations against terrorists to resume,” it added.
The Modi government’s suspension had failed to halt the mounting death toll in occupied Kashmir.
A youth died after being hit by a paramilitary vehicle during a demonstration. A number of ‘militants’ and at least five Indian soldiers or police were also killed in clashes.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a cabinet meeting on Thursday to discuss whether to extend the initiative, amid a heated debate on the move. It was the first time in almost two decades that Indian authorities had suspended military operations against ‘militants’.
The killing of the abducted soldier and the shooting last week of a leading Kashmir journalist, Shujaat Bukhari, put pressure on the government to resume operations.
The home minister said the suspension had been ordered “in the interests of the peace-loving people” of Kashmir “to provide them a conductive atmosphere to observe Ramazan”.